Rubio: Cheaper drugs from Canada? Not so fast

Three students at an Arizona high school were arrested after police said they were in possession of more than 3,000 fentanyl pills. 

ORLANDO, Fla. — Cheaper drugs from Canada. The idea sounds good -- buy drugs from Canada, where the government controls prices, and import them into the United States.

But there is just one problem: Canada.

"Canada can prohibit the exportation because it could cause a shortage for them," U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said in a statement. "They've already said they're going to if we did this. So I'm a little bit concerned that we're all getting excited about something that Canada's not going to allow. They have to cooperate."

Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed HB-19, a bill designed to establish the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program.

Following Florida's lead, President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to lay out an importation plan.

But Canada, which has price controls on prescription drugs, was apparently not notified of the plan, according to its health minister.

Under its system, the Canadian government uses strict price controls on all prescription drugs and negotiates discounts with drug manufacturers.

Canada also prohibits direct-to-consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals, unlike the U.S.

"Look, I'm all for cheaper pharmaceuticals for Floridians and for all Americans. I don't want to rain on anyone's parade. We have to be a little careful here," Rubio said. "Canada prohibits American doctors from writing prescriptions."

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